Failing Campaigns

Biggest lesson from last few years of gaming to me might have been that I can accept the fact that not all campaigns will work.

At first this seems like no-brainer. But only after some consideration, failures, and successes was I able to embrace this. It is not “letting your players down” nor is it “failing”. Understanding your own resources as GM is a tool.

So in this post I will try to explain this personal notion.

I have a problem with getting bored with a campaign as soon as it starts. There have been campaigns that I have given up and then there have been campaigns I have thought of giving up but fought that feeling.

As anyone can guess these feelings have lead to different solutions. There have been campaigns that should have been discontinued but were kept alive for too long. There have been campaigns that have stopped but which I should have kept alive. And then there are the successes when after I have abandoned all hope had raised to glory and set the bar for all campaigns to come.

Few examples:

My first D&D campaign ever did not happen. I had very little serious hope of this taking place to begin with. But since none of the players I discussed about this seemed to be really interested in it (with my brother being an exception) I just decided it was not worth of trying to make it happen.


Skulls & Sigils was a season (10 session long campaign) for Eldritch Sigils we started in 2016. There were too many players to begin with and while we got the number of players down that season had just lost its appeal. I tried to get people excited about it for far too long but eventually we decided to move into the next season. And luckily that proved out to be one of our best.


There have been a few examples of success in reviving a campaign presumed dead. Season of the Witch (prior to Skulls & Sigils) was one that I had almost no hope to begin with. But I wanted to see it to its end but afterwards it has been the campaign that all players have most fond memories of.

All in all this means very little to anyone besides me. And maybe my gaming groups. But since last year seems to have been hard all around the world I consider this as my casual pep talk.

Gaming should be (from my point of view) about fun. It should be time spent with friends. It should not be about you (as GM) trying to entertain your players.

This means that sometimes you need to let yourself to let go of an idea or campaign (or whatnot) AND not feel bad about it. Sure, you might feel bad. But that is also ok. Nobody is forcing you to have fun and even us GMs should notice this.

Let this be the year of most awesome games for each and everyone of you. Happy new year (a bit late but so what)!

And keep on gaming!


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